Homeschooled Kids Reveal The Biggest Challenge They Faced When They Entered The "Real World"

Growing up we all had our perceptions of home schooled kids. Ya know, socially awkward, maybe sheltered, home schooled for religion, etc. But, how much of that is true?

  • First Love Blues

    First Love Blues

    Remember that awkward part of your life when you experienced your first crush? And you kind of made an idiot out of yourself because you weren't sure how to act around them? That's okay. You were a teenager. Everyone has awkward moments during their teens. Okay, now imagine going through that same experience, but when you're twenty-one and supposedly old enough to know better. (Source)

  • Still Sharing a Room

    Still Sharing a Room

    Not me, but my brothers who are 20 and 17. My mom took them out of school when they started getting in trouble for not making it most days. They went to every elementary school until my mom found a private school that didn't really care how often the boys made it as long as the tuition was paid. They somehow "passed" through elementary and into the private middle school next door. For high school my step dad got tired of paying for these private schools and so my older brother went to the public high school... For one day. The reason he "had to" drop out and do internet school is because someone "offered him drugs". I asked for specifics, but there were none. 5 years later, my older brother got his "diploma", and no word on the younger brother. These two, at 20 and 17, still share the same tiny bedroom with the same twin beds they've had since they graduated to big boy beds. My older brother got a job where my stepdad works, and I'm always appalled to see a stack of f_cking paper checks on the counter. Current tally is over $10K. He hasn't gotten around to getting a bank account. Mom says that he's saving to buy a house. Younger brother spends his days texting with his girlfriend who he met through commenting on a mutual friend's post. She lives in across the country from him, and they have a Kip/LaFawnduh thing going on. They've been "together" for two years and she's perpetually coming to visit, any day now. I don't know about you guys, but I cannot imagine spending the years of 14-20 in a room with another boy. I literally had a towel that doubled as a nightstand through those years. Also, their house has an entire unfinished basement that could turn the house from a 2 bedroom to 3-4 easily, but despite owning the home for 25 years and refinancing to make these changes several times it never happens. I seem to have lost focus here, but what I'm saying is that I don't think homeschool is always necessarily bad if your parents aren't lazy and actually care about your future. My only concerns would be making sure that there are social interactions so that kids can learn the real adult skill of operating with a wide variety of personalities. My brothers, and mom for that matter, rarely leave the house. (Source)

  • Potty Mouth

    Potty Mouth

    16, I'm a junior but I'm enrolled in a community college full time now, but I was homeschooled up until this fall. One big thing is that people swear a LOT. Like, a ton for some people! We are of course never allowed to do that at home, and I guess I thought only people on the internet did it? Haha and random people are a lot friendlier than I thought they'd be, in general. (Source)

  • Finding a Mentor

    Finding a Mentor

    I got over the swearing thing due to playing Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of foul mouthed dudes at the age of 13, the most foul mouthed of whom took it upon himself to be my mentor of social skills in the most tsundere way possible. It was due to his constant badgering that I am able to put up with assholes on a day to day basis. I think the only reason I am able to be social at all is because of him. He largely shaped my personality and I will be forever grateful to him for being that big brother that I always needed. And if you're reading this...Matt, good job suplexing that white dragon. (Source)

  • It's Normal

    It's Normal

    When I was in high school, we had a new freshman on the cross country/track team who had been home schooled to that point. She was very quiet, but also very nice. It was a small, all girls Catholic school and we looked out for each other, so she fit in. Anyways, she got her period during school. We were in the locker room changing for practice, and a friend of hers promptly said hey you need a tampon? And the girl didn't know what a tampon was. She then freaks out because she doesn't know why she's bleeding. She thinks she's dying. Myself and a team captain get her calmed down and take her to a bathroom with a shower and let her clean herself up and gave her the talk about periods and whatnot, and she seemed fine. The next day we were called to the office because her crazy mom wanted us to be reprimanded for corrupting her child with sinful heresy. We told her daughter what a period meant. Her 14 year old didn't even know that periods were a thing and thought she was bleeding out her ass. We weren't punished, but that girl was pulled from school. I wonder about her any time a homeschooling thread pops up. (Source)

  • Just Trying to Fit in

    Just Trying to Fit in

    I was socially isolated and extremely far behind on my education (didn't learn how to multiply and divide until 7th grade). This was all due to my mom being a control freak and general manipulator. Thankfully my parents divorced and my dad put me and my little brother in public school. I didn't know how to act around kids my age so I was super weird and didn't realize my actions would have repercussions. I was a real dick because of this and once I realized that no one liked me because of this I became extremely shut in and anti-social. I did my best to clean-slate my personality and tried to start from zero so that I could act like everyone else around me. It was extremely hard to learn this, but over the years I've gotten better. I caught up with my education and I've made friends along the way, but I'm still hit by a lot of social anxiety and general lack of confidence. (Source)

  • Those Pesky Lockers

    Those Pesky Lockers

    I took extra-curriculars in high school at a local private school and got assigned a locker. I literally had to stay one night and practice using it because I couldn't get it unlocked most of the time. (Source)

  • A Few Blunders

    A Few Blunders

    I was homeschooled up until college, and I definitely notice these little things. Stuff like walking in line, raising your hand before speaking, other really basic school etiquette that comes naturally for all my public-schooled classmates--I've committed a few blunders for sure. (Source)

  • Homeschooling Gets a Bad Wrap

    Homeschooling Gets a Bad Wrap

    My parents were very religious and home schooled us. It worked out fine. Half of us are still religious, we learned all about science (my mom ended up working at a planetarium while we were homeschooled because we spent so much time there), we all got a first rate education. None of us did drugs, drank to excess, or had any kids. We also were very close and good at communicating. The older ones had to figure out some social stuff, but they did just fine in "the real world" and they passed it down to the younger ones who have actually all been very popular. So "religious" doesn't mean "bad at home-school". (Source)

  • Spreading My Wings

    Spreading My Wings

    My mother isolated us and had an emotionally incestuous/codependent relationship with me. I knew really well how to act to the outside world of adults that we'd encounter at church, etc, but didn't have any friends my own age from 12 -22. My mother thought friends were unnecessary and ultimately a bad influence on children. I went to college at 22, and my biggest learning curve was how in interact in a casual way, and I actually found that because at first I didn't know how to read social cues and came off as borderline autistic. The biggest real challenge has been personally overcoming my abuse, which presents similar to others who were isolated and/or had controlling parents. I have a lot of anxiety and depression. College was great but I feel like I lost many years to my mother, which resulted in overcompensation, binge drinking, depression, etc. I'm finally getting on an even keel now in my late 20s. (Source)

  • What Are Pokemon?

    What Are Pokemon?

    Most people are absolutely shocked to learn that I was home schooled because I don't fit the stereotype at all. My biggest challenge (aside from the one someone else mentioned of getting good grades and being hated) is that I have a pop culture knowledge deficit for the years between 1990-2000. Most people my age (mid-20's) are able to bond over shared memories of Pokemon, Mario Kart, Disney movies, weird snacks, etc. I have none of that because I was raised with no TV, video-games, or much exposure at all to 90's pop culture. (Source)

  • The Value of Hard Work

    The Value of Hard Work

    Myself and my siblings have all been homeschooled because my oldest sister's 1st grade teacher was a moron. My parents said "Screw that, we can do better." They both have advanced degrees. I was part of a homeschool co-op, so had many friends through that. So socially, I don't think being homeschooled had much of an effect. My siblings are split between introverted and extroverted, so our social education was far from lacking. Homeschooling was a largely self-driven method of learning, so when I got to college and then my first job, I had no problems setting my own schedule and managing my workload, as well as pursuing what I wanted with abandon. I have practically nothing but good things to say about homeschooling, if, like ALL schooling, it is done properly and with the child's best interests at heart. It's definitely not for every child or parent, but I hope to homeschool some day myself. (Source)

  • I Really Did Graduate

    I Really Did Graduate

    I was able to graduate high school at 16 because I was homeschooled. My biggest challenge was convincing the financial aid office at college that I had really graduated. It took 4 months. They knew me when they saw me. All they needed was a diploma with a graduation date on it, which I printed myself. Every year I have to go back into the office and remind them of this fact. (Source)

  • Odd Random Facts

    Odd Random Facts

    Senior in college now. Best parts: I know a lot more about random interesting stuff and have a broader HS education than other people I know, mostly because I was able to learn about stuff I cared about in school. I'm usually much less likely to be scared of saying what I think in class than people who've spent their entire school lives in classrooms where they had to shut up. Worst parts: My social skills are lacking because I didn't have friends my age during junior high and high school. Not really visible to others, I've learned, but I still feel like an idiot sometimes. Some teachers don't appreciate my candidness in class. Dating skills are sh_t. Not kidding. Had 2 girlfriends in school so far, both lasting less than 6 months, and honestly have no idea how I landed either of them, despite seemingly knowing exactly what I was doing while pursuing. I assume it's some sort of sixth sense that only activates when some part of my brain likes a girl enough to try. Test taking skills are also sh_t. As are study skills. Somehow going to graduate OK, but still have no idea how to study anything, really. (Source)

  • Problems With the Basics


    [1]: http://Not me, but my freshmen roommate in college was homeschooled until High School. She said some of the hardest parts were the little things, like passing papers down the line in a class room, that she never had to deal with before.

    Problems With the Basics

    Not me, but my freshmen roommate in college was homeschooled until High School. She said some of the hardest parts were the little things, like passing papers down the line in a class room, that she never had to deal with before. (Source)

  • Who Are the Birds and the Bees?

    Who Are the Birds and the Bees?

    I wasn't homeschooled but my roommate my junior year of college was. Her parents didn't believe in sex education and had sheltered her greatly up until this point (she had just transferred from a community college where she lived at home). She somehow made it to age 22 without having ANY idea of what sex was and I ended up having to give her the birds and the bees talk her second week in the dorms. Not something I ever imagined I'd have to do for a roommate and something that would never have happened had she gone to a traditional school. (Source)

  • Location, Location, Location

    Location, Location, Location

    I'm still in college, so I don't know if that counts as the real world haha. I was just relieved when I started getting my first "real" grades back and they were all good. Having to drive/bus to school instead of just walking downstairs is a pain though, not gonna lie. (Source)

  • The Pros and Cons

    The Pros and Cons

    Pros: I learned to be able to socialize with any age group, not just those my age. I was able to pursue a lot of hobbies that I believe made me well rounded: music, gardening, and acting especially helped me later. And there wasn't anybody to bully me about what I liked. Or, if there were, I could easily avoid them. I was able to dually enroll in my local community college at 14, earning my associates degree very shortly after I got my diploma. This allowed me to transfer easily to a better 4 year school with less debt than I would've otherwise had. Cons: Your parents control your materials. If there were topics they didn't want covered (e.g. evolution), you didn't cover them. I'm dubious about the legitimacy of my diploma. I don't know if my parents filled all the right paperwork. It's moot, since I have degrees, but it's a doubt I have. I could never really participate in athletics. Not because I didn't want to, or because there were no opportunities for homeschoolers to do so, but because my mom didn't see it as important, so she withdrew me from them when it inconvenienced her schedule. Oddly enough, acting didn't seem to interfere.I didn't really have much of a chance to learn how to socialize romantically. So I was behind the 8-ball there. I'm a bit better positioned now, but it took me a while to get my footing. (Source)

  • Allergic to the World

    Allergic to the World

    I babysat a kid who was home schooled because he was essentially allergic to the world and no school was able to accommodate his needs to his parents satisfaction. He was also tiny, so at the time that was probably the best decision. However, they kept him home schooled until HS. His parents are very educated people, they both had jobs where they could be home most of the day. He participated in tons of home school parenting groups so he got to socialize a lot with other kids. And his education was very focused on his interests. He learned a lot, and in a super fun way, and got a lot of opportunities that most kids don't. But it probably cost as much as private school. And in a big city with lots of activities for kids to do. With two very smart, attentive, social parents. So not everyone can have that advantage. He got accepted to an specialized HS that is joined with a college...then got accepted to a very good college (I think on an engineering scholarship) and seems to be doing great. I assume he will be running NASA any day now. Smart kid, fun to be around. Home school worked for him. His parents did a helluva job. (Source)

  • Relating to the World

    Relating to the World

    In trying to trace the point I was exposed to the "real world" I realized how unusual my homeschooling experience was. My parents didn't guard us from the facts of the world at all. We traveled a lot (almost exclusively by car), following Dad to his various government assignments. So in that vein I got to take in a lot. I saw both the good and bad parts of cities all over the country, museums, monuments, parks, but also pollution, ghettos, abandoned districts, etc. Watching the evening news with dad and having him explain it all like an early form of ELI5 are some of my favorite and most valued memories. What I think is really being asked here is what did I have to grapple with when they turned me loose on the world as an "adult". That would likely be High School. I did that at home too but that's when I started working and going to tech school concurrently. That's when I discovered the crippling social anxiety. I'd never had much interest in friends as a kid and my parents had encouraged me to find some. But I was the brainy one that preferred to read a book in the corner when presented with playmates. I discovered I could speak politely and formally with anyone, but relating to them was impossible (at first). I had ZERO idea how to flirt either and other comments I've seen here about not understanding or being able to read cues was spot on. Eventually I found people with similar interests at work and school and began to talk with them on that basis. Eventually picking up on how to relax and adapt to informal vocabulary. Dating was harder to figure out and I still have a decidedly difficult time with anxiety over approaching women. The key was realizing that nobody actually knows what they are doing and I hadn't missed out on the secret class that teaches you how to "adult". (Source)

  • The Don'ts

    The Don'ts

    I joined the Navy at 18, and had a real quick intro to being normal. Don't stare at people. Don't freak out if someone is overly hostile. Don't assume that other people had your highly specialized interests and know about obscure topics. Best not to discuss them as hobbies. I adapted quickly, and turned out more or less fine. 10 years in the Navy, now have a good job at an electric co-op. Married, kid, homeowner, etc. American dream. (Source)

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